Next Sketch Outing

Oct. 13: Seattle Center

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

vendors of pike place market

If you see someone walking through downtown Seattle carrying a bouquet wrapped in white paper, they probably got it from one of the flower vendors at Pike Place Market.

Follow the aromatic scent to the central area of the market to find a hallway lined with mostly Asian-American ladies selling gorgeous, very reasonably priced bouquets, surrounded by white plastic buckets of stems of seasonal sprigs. As they craft the arrangements, they place them into black plastic vases/holders for passerby to purchase. You can request a bouquet made to order on the spot, or even ask for a particular single flower which caught your eye.

The flower ladies’ stands are all family affairs. The reason that the bouquets are so cheap - as low as $5 - is that they also own the farms, which sometimes also grow vegetables and other produce. Also there is a lot of competition! I love that the Pike Place Market bouquets don’t look like the kinds you see at the supermarket; they’re more of a seasonal variety, and way more interesting than the premade bunches at a chain store.

 I captured these hard-working ower vendors in mixed media: watercolor pencils, ink, waterbrush, graphite, and transparent and acrylic markers. Both drawings took about 20 minutes each. 

Nearly every time I come to Pike Place Market, I get myself a greasy brown paper bag of these freshly fried mini doughnuts. But as the market is usually so crowded, I just grab my snack and get out as soon as possible.

As I arrived at the Daily Dozen, everyone was packing up for the evening – I always forget everything closes surprisingly early here (around 5pm) – and the two people running the joint were selling off their remaining stock of mini donuts at a discount as they closed down for the night. Eventually, there was only powdered sugar left, and not for long!

As they closed up, I got to take in some very charming details of their stall I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t stay to sketch:
• Top left: a menagerie of figures above the doughnut case - including Captain America, Jesus Christ, and some Star Wars guy on an alien horse.

• Lower right: a row of plastic rats, which the owners acquired at rummage sales, gaze out at the customer. Someone had forgotten their dentures among the rodents!!

• Other fun details: social justice signage (right) and a demon mask tied to a pole (center)

After the Daily Dozen shut down for the evening, I was left in an empty market. I had never noticed many of these super interesting spaces, like these whimsical archways – the dense crowds prevent me from lingering in corridors like this one. Several groups of tourists came up to me and asked if the market was closed, and also where to find the Gum Wall. perhaps one reason that horrifying attraction is a Thing is because it doesn't close at 5pm like the rest of Pike Place Market.

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